Veterans face unique challenges when it comes to transitioning from serving in the military to landing a job in the civilian world. With the many scholarship opportunities available to veterans, however, college is a great opportunity for making this transition while preparing for a career in the real world. If you are in the process of becoming a student veteran, consider the following five tips for using your college experiences as a means of landing your dream vocation.
Choose a College Program That Supports Veterans
In recognizing the unique needs of veterans, colleges across the country have begun to implement programs that support veterans through college and beyond. Taking advantage of these opportunities will allow you to focus on your dream career while avoiding unnecessary obstacles such as out-of-pocket tuition costs. Get funding for school as a veteran by attending an institution that supports tuition assistance programs such as the Yellow Ribbon Program. This Program works in conjunction with participating colleges to pay for tuition costs that are not covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It is also essential to find a college that will work hard to grant the maximum amount of college credit for the training and experience you gained in the military. This will expedite your path to career success while preventing the unnecessary costs of taking additional courses.
Be Active on Campus
USA Today reports that being proactive during your college years is absolutely essential when it comes to creating a resume that will wow potential employers. College campuses are overflowing with opportunities for hands-on involvement such as becoming the leader of a campus organization, planning events, and participating in volunteer projects. While choosing which organizations to get involved with, remember that flexibility is also an important quality to bring to the table in a job interview. Don’t be afraid to try activities that you normally wouldn’t be drawn to. Potential employers will be glad to see that you are versatile and well rounded. Consider joining a campus veterans group, or collaborate with other former service members to start your own. Connecting with other veterans who have been through similar experiences is a great way to be active on campus while making a smooth transition into civilian live.
Network With Professionals
Today more than ever, networking is essential to making a name for yourself in the professional world, and it’s never too early to start. Begin making professional connections as early as your freshman year and be sure to utilize alumni who are now business professionals. Don’t wait until you are looking for a job to introduce yourself to these connections. While you are still a student your interest will seem genuine, and the positive impact you make on these individuals will be beneficial once you begin to search for your ideal career. Social media also provides a wealth of opportunities for professional networking. Become familiar with business networking sites such as LinkedIn while you are still in school so that you will be well versed in online networking once you enter the professional world. Another great way to network in college is to find an internship at a place you hope to work for after graduation. Internships frequently turn into full-time jobs and are a valuable opportunity for proving yourself within your field.
Start Your Job Search Now
The job market is tough, and veterans face a rate of unemployment that is disproportionate to their civilian counterparts. The best way to combat this statistic is to start the job hunt while you are still in college. Forbes recommends sending your resume out as early as your sophomore year as a way of getting your name out there and becoming comfortable with the job application process. Also consider that being a veteran may actually be an advantage in the search for your dream job, as many corporations have implemented campaigns that are geared toward hiring more veterans.
Build a Positive Reputation as a Student
One thing college students often fail to realize is that the reputation they create while in college can have a lasting influence on their professional careers. When it comes to your college career, you can work to establish a professional reputation in a variety of ways. The first place to start is building a trustworthy relationship with your professors. Turning in assignments on time, asking questions when things are unclear, and following through with commitments will go a long way in building a positive reputation. One way to help yourself out in this area is to avoid becoming overcommitted. While it is important to stay active, too many commitments will prevent you from developing the positive reputation you need to excel in your professional life.
As you work to make a successful transition from soldier to student, consider these five tips. By finding the right college and staying proactive, you can develop the tools needed to land the job of your dreams.
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